Ohio Bobcats vs. Central Michigan Chippewas – College Basketball, February 2, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 2, 2021 2:41 am PDT

The Bobcats have aspirations of going far this season, although they have some way to go to catch the runaway leaders Toledo. They currently occupy the fourth spot in the Mid-American Conference, and it’s currently congested in the pursuing pack.

Therefore, a couple of wins could see you make a run towards the top, but a couple of defeats could also mean the end of your season. Central Michigan is in their own little battle of bragging rights with Eastern Michigan, and the Chippewas are currently one place above them, and they will want to keep it that way.

The recent head-to-head record is split over the last six games, with each team winning three games apiece. However, four of the previous five meetings have been won by the home team, so the Bobcats will be up against it tonight. Especially given their last win away at Central Michigan was back in 2013!

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Bobcats vs. Chippewas betting prediction.

Bobcats vs. Chippewas Odds

Bobcats (-6.5) -110
Chippewas (+6.5) -110
Bobcats To Win -334
Chippewas To Win +275
Over 156.5 Points -110
Under 156.5 Points -110

The spread looks just about right for this one. However, at first glance, the points total looks quite big given these two have a combined game average of 149 points in their last ten meetings.

Bobcats Analysis

The Bobcats are on a fine run of form, having won six of their last eight games, including winning the last three in a row. They came through a challenging match against Buffalo just days ago, and it will be interesting to see what that has taken out of them.

Ohio appeared to be cruising to victory as they led by nine at half time, but Buffalo rallied to give the Bobcats a late scare, with the final score finishing 75-76.

The Bobcats haven’t been as good this season on the road and find themselves with a negative record of 4-5. But they will know a win tonight will get them back on an even keel. They are certainly on the right track, having won two of their previous three road trips.

Here are the latest betting trends for Ohio:

  • They have won four of their last five games against the spread.
  • Ten of their previous 14 games have gone over the betting total.
  • Ohio has lost six of the last eight games against Central Michigan when betting against the spread.
  • The Bobcats have suffered from homesickness recently, winning just four of their previous 16 games on the road.
  • This trend continues against Central Michigan as they have only won one of the previous seven away fixtures against them.

The biggest and most obvious trend to take from this data is that the Bobcats are terrible on the road.

Ohio has a terrific offense this season that would compete with most teams in the country. They work their opening very well, which results in a high shooting percentage all across the court. If they could only improve their rebounding, I’m confident they would be challenging the Conference leaders.

Their good passing game sees them lead the Conference rankings for assists per game as they make an impressive 17 on average each night.

Well, that is if they can improve their defense, of course, as they seem to forget that there are two elements to the game at times. They are conceding on average 73 points per game, making life challenging for their offense each night. Instead of standing around admiring their handy offensive work, they need to do more to track back and get in defensive formation quicker. This would help them to at least post more blocks per game than they currently are averaging.

Jason Preston leads the team for points and assists per game, and his rise to the top has been a humbling and inspiring story. He was tipped to be one to watch this season, and he certainly hasn’t let any of those backers down. Preston has made or assisted 43% of the Bobcats field goals over the last five games.

Dwight Wilson has also been in fine form recently, and he is buzzing right now after making his first-ever last-second winning shot against Buffalo last time out. Here he is speaking about that amongst other things.

Ohio only has one injury coming into this game as their Center Foster is out with a bad leg.

Chippewas Analysis

The Chippewas come into this game on the back of three straight defeats. They have only won one of their previous seven games, which came against their cross-city rivals East Michigan in a 75-64 win. To be fair to the Chippewas, their last three defeats have all come against the top three teams in the Conference, and as they face the fourth-best team tonight, they must be wondering when their grueling schedule will ever end.

They have a good record at home, having won four of their six games this season. However, those two defeats did come in their last three home games.

Here are the latest betting trends for Central Michigan:

  • They have only won two of their previous seven matches against the spread.
  • The total has gone over in 11 of their last 16 games.
  • This trend has continued against Ohio, with four of the last six games going over the betting total.
  • Five of their previous six home games have also gone over the points total.
  • However, their games in February have not tended to be high scoring as four of the last six have gone under.

They haven’t done well against the spread recently, which is no great surprise given the caliber of opponents they have had to face.

The Chippewas also have a great offense, which is primarily due to their excellent rebounding game. Their attack has been immense at home, averaging 85 points per game, seven points higher than their overall average.

One thing that does surprise me slightly is that they don’t tend to shoot many three-pointers. They prefer to work the ball around the key to get their players in an excellent position to rebound should they miss.

However, they have one of the worst defenses in the country that lacks organization. I don’t believe it’s down to a lack of effort as they work hard and press teams well, which is backed up by their excellent steals per game count. They look a little lost out there sometimes, which has to sit on the coach’s shoulders, I’m afraid.

The thing that impresses me most about Central Michigan is they have this excellent offense without relying on one or two players. Therefore, if one of their players has an off night, others can pick up the slack. And they will have to be at their very best tonight as they have lost all seven games that they have failed to score more than 73 points in.

The Chippewas will miss Burke, who has left the team, and Forward Polk is doubtful to start this one.

Bobcats vs. Chippewas Betting Pick

Given both teams have a great offense and rubbish defenses, it would be easy to think that the pick should be over the points total. However, as previously mentioned, the total looks a little high, and I certainly wouldn’t want to take it on.

I think the key stat for me is that the Chippewas do well when they score over 73 points, and that is precisely what the Bobcats are conceding on average per game, which makes this a finely balanced game.

However, the Bobcats don’t travel well, and they are coming up against a team that is averaging 85 points per game at home this season. Therefore, I will take Central Michigan with the handicap.

Pick
  • Chippewas (+6.5)
    -110

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